Family & friends of man injured by officer testify at hearing
testifying at Citizen Review Committee hearing
August 10, 2012
Urging City Council members, Bureau management, and every police officer in Portland to watch, local police accountability group Portland Copwatch today posted video of the family and friends of a man injured by a police officer testifying before the Citizen Review Committee (CRC). The man, Craig Maynard, was tackled by Officer Christopher McDonald after McDonald chased him, supposedly for failure to have a reflector on the back of his bicycle, in July 2010. When handcuffing him, McDonald dislocated Mr.Maynard's elbow, resulting in a trip to the hospital. This incident is particularly tragic because according to friends and family of Mr. Maynard, who struggled with mental illness, this incident led to his
emotional undoing and eventually his committing suicide about three months afterward.
To make matters worse, the Bureau's Internal Affairs division (IA) and the Auditor's "Independent" Police Review division (IPR) both refused to conduct more investigation into the case both in advance of and after the hearing held on June 6, where Maynard's friends and family challenged the Bureau's "Unproven with a debriefing" finding on whether McDonald used excessive force. Because Council did not properly address the ability of CRC to direct these agencies to conduct more investigation (rather than just recommending it) when modifying the city ordinance on IPR/CRC last December, the system was exposed as inadequate in a short six months after Council's vote.
Portland Copwatch got permission from Flying Focus Video Collective, which tapes each CRC meeting, and the family members to release the footage in an effort to show the City how one violent encounter with
police can ruin a person's life, and how that action can have a ripple effect on others. Setting aside the question of why Officer McDonald didn't try de-escalating the situation when he suspected Maynard had some kind of mental illness, one wonders whether (a) such force was necessary when the underlying violation was a missing bicycle reflector and (b) whether the City could have changed Mr. Maynard's downward spiral by checking in on his injuries and maybe even apologizing in the days andweeks after the incident.
The issue involved in CRC's request for more investigation was raised by Maynard in a hand-written account of the incident which he wrote before his death. Maynard claimed that he said to McDonald, in the presence of Officer "B," "you broke my arm on purpose," and McDonald said he did. Yet IA and IPR never interviewed Officer "B" to see if that was indeed true, which would prove both retaliation and excessive force.
It also came to light that the "debriefing" for Officer McDonald was mainly driven by his poor record-keeping, which led to IA interviewing people who were witnesses to a different incident because his notebook was not properly indexed.
The video, which lasts about 25 minutes, includes concerns about the police training, conduct, and investigation, but more importantly paints the picture of a man whose life was forever altered by one encounter with an officer and how those around him were unable to do anything to help.
For more information contact Portland Copwatch at 503-236-3065.
0:00 Title card/Priscilla Lightbourne reading
statement from Craig's sister Cheryl
4:19 Steve Minor, friend of Craig
12:35 Santha Cassel, friend of Craig
15:48 Michael Callahan, friend of Craig
23:55 Steve Maynard, Craig's brother